"Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things." - Psalm 107:8-9
This is Ester.
As you can see from the picture, she is one of the oldest women in her rural village in Tanzania. For many years now, Ester has suffered from deteriorating eye sight, as well as nearly constant pain in her joints and muscles. Perhaps these symptoms are just a result of old age, but IDES' partner missionaries suspected something more significant.
Ester, like some other so-called "old-timers," was absolutely certain that she knew what was best for herself. Although this smile-laden stubbornness can be charming at times, it can also be dangerous--especially if you live in the rural villages of Tanzania.
"She used to tell me that the nutritious breakfast porridge [we serve] is only for children and that she didn't need to eat any vegetables," our partner said.
No vegetables = malnutrition.
Malnutrition = deteriorating eye sight and constant aches and pains.
The link was clear. Ester needed to be eating more nutritious food on a regular basis, but she simply did not know the importance of nutrition to her health. That was until IDES' partners stepped in with not only the nutritious food she needed, but also a fantastic community development program referred to as "C.H.E."
According to the CHE Network, "CHE", which stands for "Community Health Evangelism", is a Christ-centered educational program that is being used by hundreds of Christian churches and organizations across the globe [that] equips communities to identify issues and mobilize resources to achieve positive, sustainable change. Lives and communities are transformed as people come to Christ and work together to address local needs," especially needs related to hygiene, nutrition, disease prevention, health and wellness. CHE is the seamless integration of evangelism/discipleship training with health education.
"One Saturday, her pastor taught a CHE lesson on good nutrition and how it positively affects your whole body," our partner in Tanzania reported. "He used pictures of different types of foods and how they help your body (what makes you grow, what makes you strong, and what gives you energy). That afternoon, she decided to try 'just a little' vegetables with her corn and beans."
Our parents always told us to eat our vegetables at dinner. As it turns out--they were right!
Ester, along with her little granddaughter, began eating the provided fruits and vegetables along with their porridge at the regular meals hosted by our partner mission in her village. These meal-times, and the ongoing CHE lessons, provided the context in which relationships could be built and the Gospel of Jesus Christ could be shared. Instead of just a hand-out, Ester and her neighbors received a hand-UP.
"Now, over a year later, she usually asks for a second helping of the fruit and vegetables! Her improved nutrition has also given her more energy, she says the pain is more tolerable, and believe it or not, her eyesight has improved! We are praising God for IDES and the incredible work you are doing in lives and communities in Tanzania through your partnership with this program!"
These are the stories that your support makes possible.
"What Is CHE?" What Is CHE? CHE Network, n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. <http://www.chenetwork.org/what.php>.